We missed last week's utility class because we were at the trials so I was wondering how he would do this week. The class is a real stresser for him so I was really pleased with the article exercise. The first article, he circled the pile once so I told him to get to work, which he did and got the correct article. I'm trying to break his habit of circling the pile more than once. I was surprised on the second article when he did not circle, but went directly to the article and picked it up. Hmmmm.... maybe that jackpotting is paying off. In practice lately, I've been putting a treat in the pile so he'll go directly into the pile and jackpotting him with a very high value reward as soon as he picks up the correct article.
The signals were not so good. We were doing signals with other dogs in the ring and with distractions outside the ring. It was too distracting and stressful for him to ignore them and just pay attention to me. Something we need to keep working on - doing signals with distractions.
The go-outs were not too bad. But we still need to work on him going all the way out to the gates/wall before slowing down . I've been putting a treat out to help with this and I think it's improving his go-outs. Maybe if we keep at it for awhile, we'll build some muscle memory.
There's another trial coming up a week from Monday (Sept. 7). This trial is going to be held at the club where we train. Now, having the home-team advantage didn't help us much last February when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong : ) I'm hoping this time our training will have paid off and we'll have an improved performance.